donderdag 20 oktober 2011

review: Xander Harris, Psychic Reality, Maria Minerva & Holy Other



I love synth music... but I guess that is no secret. In this day and age of unlimited recycling I am fed up with all re-issues spit out over the world every month. Contemporary music deserves more attention and has more cultural relevance... but this I have said before... maybe too many times already... Anyway for my part I try to keep an eye out for new synth sounds all the time... recently I came across a few records that are spinning here all the time now.

Xander Harris is one of these... with his "Urban Gothic" album he found a way into my home and heart for sure. His mix of psychedelic synth music in the Kosmische Scene style... think Schulze... with elektro, and at times even EBM, influenced beats is working perfectly for me. The tracks are not too long... sometimes even more like sketches than real tracks mabye... still they work for me. The album is building up... the beats are becoming more dominant gradually... so the whole album is like a trip from tranquil pieces to rather beat driven tunes... still I prefer the A side best and the last few tracks on the A side especially... this as they are the perfect blending of pyschedelic synth lines with a clear rhythm with beats that are not too much in your face... simply perfect!

After finishing the A side of the Xander Harris I often switch to the Psychic Reality album "Vibrant New Age". More house music influenced when it kicks in with the opening track "Fruit". Still this could have been Gold Panda on his first releases and / or with a more trippy and less clean sound. Or... this could have fitted on Throbbing Gristle's "20 Jazz Funk Greats" like a more poppy / proto house version of 'Hot On The Heels Of Love'. BUT... the best thing about "Vibrant New Age" is that the record evolves into a much less easy to consume album that flirts with some post-punk influences... like a Sixteens on tranquilizers maybe... or a hippie version of Zola Jesus...

And then there is "Maria Minerva's Cabaret Cixous" by Maria Minerva... superb synth stuff unlike you hear most of the time... hippie punk weird synth music at it's very best! Poppy but not at all slick or easy... anything like that to be true. Maybe even some of the most adventurous pop music you have heard for some time... How does it sound? I have no idea how to describe this really... it has an exotic feel, it is playful, weird, minimal... well these words would attract my attention if I read about synth music sounding that way...

Still this is not as trippy as the "With U" EP by Holy Other... and this record has for sure some dubstep influences... and I never did like dubstep before... not really... I heard some really slow and dark things but most was too hip-hop orientated for me in the end... Anyway "With U" is deep and slow and doomy... when played at 33 rpm... a massive trip into the unknown... but you can also play this record at 45 rpm and then it is still deep and doomy but could serve a well informed, or drugged out, dancefloor audience for sure. And I cannot decide at which speed the record is at its best... it works perfectly for me at both speeds... funny and strange but excellent in many ways!

I have some copies of the Xander Harris and Psychic Reality records in my webshop...

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